Apple has acquired Akonia Holographics, a Denver-based startup that manufactures augmented reality waveguide lenses. This comes after reports suggested that Apple was planning to release consumer AR glasses in the coming years. Although, the company refused to share the details of the acquisition, this seems to be the proof that Apple is interested consumer AR technologies.
Apple had also acquired, Vrvana, a company that manufactured mixed-relative headsets. Waveguide displays that Akonia Holographics manufactures are the most popular optic technology for augmented reality headsets. This technology involves an image being beamed to the side glass which then bounces between a lens' irregularity and then reaches the user's eyes.
However, the problem with these lenses is that they cannot reproduce accurate colours and the images become distorted on large displays. Akonia claims to solve this through its 'HoloMirror' technology that can produce full colour and large images. These waveguide lenses have also been used in AR headsets of Magic Leap, Microsoft etc.
Apple has showcased that it is mainly interested in manufacturing phone-based AR technologies unlike its competitors. However, it cannot be said with certainty if Apple's AR glasses would be similar to Magic Leap or be built upon its existing ARKit tech.
Apple can also launch a smaller version of AR glasses that are like Apple Watch headsets which allows the users to see notifications and interact with them. The company's recent acquisition has opened up opportunities to release both a high end or a conservative device.